When I was planning out my race calendar for the year (which, by the way, I still haven’t finalized), I was having a difficult time with May. I ended up with the River Town Run – an inaugural race about an hour west-ish of St Louis. But then I ended up doing the Mother’s Day Half when I was back home. The question then became do I still run the River Town Half… And as I have this loose goal of 14 half marathons in 2014, I figured why not?
Being a small local race, packet pick up was available on race morning (which was fantastic since that meant I didn’t have to drive out to Timbuktu twice). The drive actually wasn’t too bad and soon I was parking.
Packet pick-up was a breeze. Which meant it was time to find a bathroom. Do you feel the ominous foreshadowing? Earlier in the week, an email had come out saying the park bathrooms would be open. Guess what? They were not. There was one, yes one, port-o-potty and it already had a long line. One of the coordinators was trying to find someone to open the bathrooms but in the meantime I stood in the port-o-potty line and anxiously watched the clock tick closer to the start time.
One thing that can seriously stress me out is time. I need to be early for things, I hate being late. So needless to say, I was getting worked up about being late (even though most of the runners were in line for the one port-o-potty). Finally one of the park bathrooms was opened and I ran over there, figuring that line would move faster.
I arrived at the start line with about a minute or two to spare. But they delayed the start by about 10 minutes. I used the extra time to shake out and stretch.
And soon we were off! It was an almost immediate uphill, downhill, and up, up, up, uphill. That would be a familiar pattern – this was a rolling course with the emphasis on the uphill. Or at least that’s the part I remember! 🙂
I got to the first water stop and no water. They had run out of cups. Really? This was going to be an extremely looong race if this was any indication.
I tried to take advantage of the downhills and ran as much as possible.
At the top of a very long uphill, was the second water stop and they had water!! Hallelujah! Especially as the day continued to get warmer.
I continued along, keeping up with my intervals to the best of my ability. It was much easier on the flats! 🙂
A little past mile 10 we passed big a train which all of a sudden let out a whistle that actually made me jump!
I knew there was a water stop coming up fast and I pushed myself to run to it. But sadly as I approached, I realized that it was another water stop that had run out of cups. Two water stops with no water. I probably have gotten complacent with depending on on-course water and fuel, but it was very disheartening to come to the water stop and be given nothing. I could feel the fight leaving me.
Fortunately the next stretch was in the shade. I came up on the last water stop and was already preparing myself for disappointment as I didn’t see any cups. As I approached, they asked if I wanted a cup or a bottle. Being the glutton for punishment I am, I opted for the ice cold bottled water and promptly guzzled it down even as I knew that was not the best idea.
My stomach agreed as the water sloshed around. I had given up on intervals at this point and was running cars, cones, whatever was I could see.
Finally, I approached the last uphill. I glanced at my watch and saw that I had a few minutes to squeak under 3 hours. I finished walking to the top of hill and then started running. And by running, I mean shuffling. But the finish line was in sight!
And then I was across the line! My official time (which I think is slightly off, but it is the one that counts) was 2:59.26, which given the weather and the hills, I am happy with. Sort of. It is under 3 hours. Which is always a goal of mine. It is an accomplishment, no matter how fast or slow.